ERG Ltd. and the National Roads & Motorists Association have formed a joint venture company to market smart cards. The announcement follows an alliance formed in May between NRMA and ERG. The NRMA has two million members and has plans to replace its membership cards with smart cards starting next July. The goal of the alliance is to enable NRMA members to access products and services as well as pay for public transport, parking, and motorway tolls once the government’s transport system comes on line with the new membership cards. A rewards program is also planned for the card.Details
Household announced this morning that its retail services business has signed an agreement to manage the newly-developed private label credit card program for Microsoft. Under terms of the deal, Household will provide credit for Microsoft system builder customers to purchase software, hardware and other computer products for resale. Household will also offer a revolving credit card program for Microsoft ‘System Builder Program’ participants. These firms can apply online for a credit line up to $25,000 with APRs as low as 9.5%.Details
The Financial Services Technology Consortium announced a collaborative relationship with Meridien Research. The arrangement will provide focused access to Meridien’s global strategic financial services technology expertise for FSTC members. Both organizations will cooperate to identify and examine significant issues and trends affecting the industry and its future.
“As the leading organization focused on helping advance the use of technology within the financial services industry, we were looking for a partner who was at the forefront of research in this arena,” said Zachary Tumin, Executive Director of FSTC. “Meridien Research brings a thorough understanding of the business issues and trends driving the use of technology to institutions throughout the world. I believe our membership will benefit greatly from this collaboration as we move into the future.”
The partnership between FSTC and Meridien Research will provide for the sharing of business and technical expertise on issues related to strategic technology investments. This will include interactive forums to promote dialogue between FSTC members and Meridien’s team of expert analysts, and the publication of research on topics of joint interest. Meridien and its advisory clients will get unique access to the business expertise gained through FSTC’s efforts and to the project-oriented collaborative research sponsored by FSTC.
“The synergies between the two organizations were clear. We have long followed the work of the FSTC and are looking forward to combining our strengths to explore new ways to leverage technology to further the financial services industry,” said Deborah Williams, co-founder of Meridien Research.
FSTC is a not-for-profit research organization comprised of banks, financial service firms, industry partners, national laboratories, universities and government agencies. Its goal is to bring forward interoperable, open-standard technologies for the financial services industry that make possible new products and services. For more information, contact FSTC Headquarters at 312/527-6724 or visit [www.fstc.org].
About Meridien Research
Meridien Research of Newton, MA, provides analytical research services to users and providers of financial industry technology. Meridien Research targets three technology areas of strategic importance to financial services firms: eFinancial Services, Trading & Risk Management and Customer Relationship Management. Each practice delivers reports detailing new issues and challenges and uses its knowledge to advise clients in technology related decisions. Visit [www.meridien-research.com/press] to register for announcements as new research becomes available. For media relations, contact Parallax LLC at 781.235.7025 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Experian officially launched its online consumer credit management and credit education Web site today. CreditExpert.com features access to personal credit reports, credit scores, and monitoring services. Experian formed a joint venture with MD-based Encore Marketing International called Credit Expert LLC, which will manage CreditExpert.com. Credit Expert LLC will offer subscriptions to the new ‘Credit Manager’ service for $79 each.Details
The cover story of the Aug 27th issue of Newsweek predicts a recession is likely if personal debts crimp consumer spending. The magazine, citing government statistics, says consumers owe $7.3 trillion, double the amount they carried in the last recession. Newsweek says forecasters predict that a record 1.4 million people may file for bankruptcy this year. The article says it found that homeowners are borrowing against their houses’ rising value to fuel discretionary spending. Newsweek also focused on the coming fallout in sub-prime lending.Details
LML Payment Systems is pleased to report it has settled its claims against Global Transaction Systems, LLC, initiated in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada regarding ownership of United States Patent Nos. 5,484,988 and 6,164,528 (the ÂPatent EstateÂ), consistent with the Agreed Final Judgment entered September 22, 2000 by the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida in the case styled LML Payment Systems et al vs. Robert R. Hills, which adjudged that the Corporation, through its subsidiaries, owned and held exclusive right, title and interest in the Patent Estate. The appropriate papers will be filed shortly with the court in Nevada.
The Corporation is also pleased to announce that its wholly owned subsidiary LML Payment Systems Corp., has granted a non-exclusive, non- transferable, limited sub-license under the Patent Estate to Global. The Sub-License agreement includes the payment of royalties on electronic check conversion on a per transaction basis. The Corporation has also agreed to provide Global with processing services regarding electronic check conversion transactions under similar terms to those provided by the Corporation to other independent third parties.
ÂWe are pleased to have this ownership issue resolved to our complete satisfaction and look forward to pursuing our business objectives that involve both transaction processing and strategic licensing of the Patent Estate,Â said Corporation President and CEO, Patrick H. Gaines.
The Corporation, through its subsidiary LML Payment Systems Corp., is a financial payment processor providing check processing solutions including Electronic Check Conversion (whereby paper checks are converted into electronic transactions), electronic check verification, electronic check re-presentment (whereby returned paper checks are re-presented for payment electronically), and primary and secondary check collection to supermarkets, grocery stores, multilane retailers, convenience stores and other national, regional and local retailers. We also specialize in providing selective routing, including real-time monitoring of check, debit, credit and EBT transactions for authorization and settlement through our flagship transaction processing product REPS (Retail Electronic Payment System). The CorporationÂs intellectual property estate, owned by subsidiary LML Patent Corp, includes new U.S. Patent No. 6,164,528 regarding Internet checking transactions, in addition to U.S. Patent No. 5,484,988 which describes a ÂCheckwriting point of sale system.Â which, through a centralized database and authorization system, is capable of providing and administering various
electronic payment services for customers and businesses. Also included in our intellectual property estate is a recently received Notice of Allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a new patent based upon United States Patent Application Serial No. 09/562,303. The newly allowed patent application describes corporate checks and electronic fund transfers (EFT) and relates to existing U.S. Patent No. 6,164,528 and U.S. Patent No. 5,484,988 (described above).Details
A proposed merger has gotten ugly. WA-based The Pathways Group and Upgrade International Corporation are heading to court following Upgrade’s decision in February to terminate the proposed acquisition of Pathways. Group Inc. in February. Pathways provides turn key solutions in the smart card arena as a full service hardware integrator, software developer and backroom transactions processor. Upgrade International is engaged in the development and commercialization of a patented ultra high capacity portable data storage technology and offers the ‘UltraCard’. Upgrade said yesterday that it entered into the proposed acquisition based upon a number of representations and assertions from Pathways management including projections that Pathways would generate 15 million dollars in revenue during calendar year 2000. However Pathways’ actual revenues for that time period were negligible. The Pathways Group recently filed a lawsuit alleging breach of contract.Details
A new study released this week by Andersen, a
leading professional services firm, shows that many U.S. multinational
corporations doing business internationally have made little progress in
adopting and implementing minimum worldwide standards for ensuring the privacy
of individuals’ personal data.
“The reality of today’s global economy, especially the use of the Internet
as a channel for conducting business, has amplified the need to focus on
individual privacy,” said Russ Gates, Managing Partner of Andersen’s risk
consulting services. “It is a strategic necessity for today’s businesses to
find acceptable solutions to address the privacy requirements of their
customers. Companies doing business internationally must pay particular
attention to the privacy requirements in the places they do business.”
The Andersen study used the general privacy guidelines developed jointly
between the E.U. and the U.S., known as the “Safe Harbor” principles, as a
means to benchmark the studied companies. These principles were agreed to in
July 2000 as a means by which certain U.S. companies could comply with the
E.U. Directive on Data Protection, Europe’s baseline privacy law. Recognizing
there is no single worldwide standard, Safe Harbor principles were chosen for
this study because they meet the E.U. Directive’s requirements for an
“adequate level of protection.”
Over the past year the E.U. has used discretion on enforcement of the
Directive, however, the ‘stand-still’ on enforcement will be reassessed in mid
2001. It is expected that the E.U. will increasingly assess the adequacy of
U.S. companies’ privacy practices in light of the requirements of the
“Disruption to the conduct of business is a very real risk,” said Kerry
Shackelford, a Principal who focuses on providing privacy services. “The E.U.
could block data transfer to U.S. companies that don’t meet the Directive’s
requirements. U.S. companies that take the lead in embracing privacy
standards will safeguard customer loyalty, enhance reputation and image, and
enjoy the freedom to structure business operations unrestricted by data
About the study:
Andersen selected 75 FORTUNE 500 and medium-sized, well-known U.S.
companies that will potentially need to meet emerging privacy standards
because they conduct commerce with individuals outside the U.S. The companies
represent five industries — financial services, retail, technology,
telecommunications/media/entertainment, and travel/leisure. The study
utilized non-intrusive methods to evaluate the privacy standards evidenced in
the companies’ Web sites. Study findings include:
— Overall, none of the 75 companies studied completely met the 6
principles. Just 2 of the 75 companies passed 5 principles and 8
companies only passed one.
— Only 5 percent of the companies provided “enforcement” — having
mechanisms for assuring compliance, recourse for individuals whose
privacy is breached, and consequences for the company breaching the
— 25 percent included proper “notice” — informing individuals before
using their information for a purpose other than originally intended or
before disclosing their information.
— 34 percent addressed issues around “access” — providing individuals
access to their personal information held by an organization as well as
the ability to correct, amend, block, or delete it.
— 46 percent offered acceptable levels of “security” — taking
precautions to protect against loss, misuse or unauthorized access to
— 74 percent addressed “data integrity” — requiring the personal
information captured be relevant to the purpose for which it is used.
— 80 percent provided sufficient “choice” — allowing individuals to
opt-out of disclosing information to a third party or for a purpose
other than its initial intent.
Additionally, the study highlights differences between industry sectors in
implementing fair information practices:
— Companies in the travel/leisure industry were found to have the best
scores of any industry in “notice” and “security” with 47 percent and
73 percent respectively.
— The technology industry scored highest in the “access” principle at
60 percent, and also received the highest rating of any industry group
— The telecommunications/media/entertainment organizations scored the
highest in the “data integrity” principle at 83 percent.
— The financial services industry scored the highest on any single
principle with 92 percent meeting benchmarks on “choice.”
“Any company can take a few simple actions to begin improving their
privacy practices,” stated Shackelford. “First, companies can review the
completeness of their online notices. More than a third of the companies we
studied did not address if and how a user could inquire about and amend or
erase personal information possessed by the company. Second, they can make
sure they have addressed how a user could submit a complaint and what follow-
up they could expect. Finally, companies can protect personal identity
information with the same rigor as they protect payment data. More than a
third of the companies studied failed to take this easy step,” said
Andersen is a global leader in professional services. It provides
integrated solutions that draw on diverse and deep competencies in consulting,
assurance, tax, corporate finance, and in some countries, legal services.
Andersen employs 85,000 people in 84 countries. Andersen is frequently rated
among the best places to work by leading publications around the world. It is
also consistently ranked first in client satisfaction in independent surveys.
Andersen has enjoyed uninterrupted growth since its founding in 1913. Its
2000 revenues totaled $8.4 billion USD. Andersen refers to the brand identity
adopted by member firms of the Andersen global client service network. Learn
more at .
Alliance Data Systems Corp. announced it has signed a six-year contract extension to continue as APCOA/Standard Parking’s provider of credit card processing services for its airport and urban parking facilities nationwide. Additionally, Alliance Data will provide new processing services utilizing satellite communication technology for APCOA/Standard Parking’s airport parking clients.
Under terms of the agreement, Alliance Data will provide processing of credit card transactions at more than 300 APCOA/Standard Parking locations in 41 states nationwide via stand-alone point of sale terminals; integrated cashier devices; and non-attended pay stations. New satellite services provided by Alliance Data will include high-speed credit card authorization, which will significantly reduce authorization and response times.
‘We are excited about this agreement with APCOA/Standard Parking, especially in being considered as the preferred provider of their processing services,’ said Mike Beltz, Alliance Data Systems president, Transaction Services. ‘Our ability to leverage Alliance Data’s broad industry experience in transaction processing will undoubtedly benefit APCOA/Standard Parking, and we’re enthusiastic about applying our expertise to help increase processing efficiencies at their locations.’
‘We’re looking forward to expanding our relationship with Alliance Data,’ said Michael Swartz, senior vice president of APCOA/Standard Parking. ‘Alliance Data is recognized as a leader in its industry, and we felt confident in selecting them again to continue providing the advanced capabilities we need to continue delivering the optimum parking management services our clients require.’
APCOA/Standard Parking, Inc.
APCOA/Standard Parking, Inc., with 14,300 employees, is one of the largest operators of paid parking facilities in North America, managing over 1,950 airport and urban parking facilities in over 270 cities in 41 states and three Canadian provinces. More information about APCOA/Standard Parking is available at [www.apcoastandard.com].
Alliance Data Systems
Based in Dallas, Alliance Data Systems is a leading provider of transaction services, credit services and marketing services, assisting retail, petroleum, utility and financial services companies in managing the critical interactions between them and their customers. Additionally, Alliance Data operates and markets the largest coalition loyalty program in Canada. All together, each year, the company manages over 2.5 billion transactions and 72 million consumer accounts for some of North America’s most recognizable companies. Alliance Data Systems employs approximately 6,000 associates at more than 20 locations in the United States, Canada and New Zealand. For more information about the company, visit its web site, [www.alliancedatasystems.com].
Providian Financial Corporation announced the election of David Alvarez to the position of Vice Chairman, Global Credit and Market Management. Alvarez joins Vice Chairmen Ellen Richey and Dave Petrini, further enhancing Providian’s leadership team. Jim Redmond, who has been managing credit and risk operations, will now assume responsibility for all domestic credit card operations. Redmond, who was also named to the Executive Management Committee, will continue to chair the Company’s credit committees.
Alvarez joined Providian in 1990 and has held a variety of senior positions in credit, marketing and operations. He has been a key contributor to establishing Providian as one of the leading credit card issuers in the country. Alvarez holds an M.S. degree in Engineering-Economic Systems and a B.S. degree in Mathematical and Computational Sciences from Stanford University.
Redmond joined Providian in 1998 with over 25 years experience in consumer credit and operations and has led the advancement of the Company’s dynamic risk operations. He is an active member of Georgetown University’s Credit Research Center and the Risk Management Association (RMA). Redmond holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pace University.
About Providian Financial
Winner of the 2001 Rochester Institute of Technology/USA Today Quality Cup for excellence in customer service, San Francisco-based Providian Financial is a leading provider of lending and deposit products to customers throughout the U.S., and offers credit cards and deposit products in the UK and in Argentina. Providian Financial has been named one of America’s Most Admired Companies in a survey by Fortune magazine, one of the nation’s top financial institutions by U.S. Banker magazine, and one of the most technologically innovative companies in the U.S. by InformationWeek magazine. The Company has more than $36 billion in assets under management and almost 18 million customer accounts.Details
Infopia Inc., developers of Marketplace Manager, the first intelligent online product sales and exposure service, announced the addition of automated payment processing when merchants receive orders from the network of online auctions and marketplaces where Marketplace Manager places product listings.
Infopia has launched this new feature in conjunction with several partnerships with major players in the payment gateway and merchant account industries including Cardservice International, Authorize.Net, ProPay, iBill and SureFire Commerce. Integration with additional providers will be conducted on a regular ongoing basis.
Until now, Marketplace Manager, after creating, listing and managing product listings, would collect orders from sales and winning bids from hundreds of different shopping sites. The service would then allow the merchant to use any merchant account or service provider to then manually process transactions.
While merchants will still have the manual option, the added functionality enable merchants to select the orders to process via their account with an integrated provider and, at the push of a button, process the transactions automatically.
“We continue to be very responsive to the requests of our customers for added features and functionality,” said Bjorn Espenes, chief executive officer of Infopia. “Our goal is to bring merchants, marketplaces and enabling technology providers together with a full service solution to respond to a growing demand by businesses to participate in third party marketplaces.”
About Infopia Inc.
Infopia Inc. is a privately held, high-growth Internet company and developer of Marketplace Manager(TM), an intelligent online product sales and exposure engine. Marketplace Manager uses patent-pending technology and Artificial Intelligence to penetrate existing online marketplaces for product exposure, returning transactions and marketplace feedback on a product-specific level.
Infopia’s unique service drastically reduces the cost and challenges merchants experience with customer acquisition by creating, strategically placing, and managing product listings in a growing network of high-traffic marketplaces such as auctions, classifieds, b2b exchanges, malls and comparison shopping sites where buyers routinely turn to shop.
The net result for merchants is instant, massive exposure resulting in more product sales, increased revenues, lowered customer acquisitions costs and the development of previously untapped marketing and sales channels.
The Infopia system also provides an easy-to-use management interface showcasing extensive, product-specific market response reports to assist merchants in their inventory and pricing decisions. Founded in 1999, Infopia has already placed product listings valued in excess of $2 billion. For more information call 801/990-4700 or visit .Details
Experian, a leading provider of global information solutions, announced the appointment of Stephen Burnside as senior vice president of Experian’s decision solutions group. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Burnside will lead the team responsible for marketing, strategy, sales, delivery and development of Experian’s scoring, analytics, decisioning software and fraud solutions.
Burnside was formerly with Experian International, based in Nottingham, U.K., where he led the international team responsible for sales, marketing and delivery of decision support solutions.
“Steve’s extensive experience with Experian’s scoring, analytics and software solutions around the world give him the expertise needed to lead and grow this business,” said Peg Smith, president of strategic business development for Experian North America. “We all welcome Steve to the team and look forward to implementing his plans for growth in the decision solutions group.”
Prior to joining Experian in 1993, Burnside worked for Pitney Bowes PLC and Barclays Bank PLC.
Burnside studied banking and economics at Blackburn College and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.
Experian(R) enables organizations to find the best prospects and make fast, informed decisions to improve and personalize relationships with their customers. It does this by combining sophisticated and intelligent decision- making software and systems with some of the world’s most comprehensive databases of information on consumers, businesses, motor vehicles and property. Through multi-channel delivery of our Web-based products and services, Experian enables its clients to conduct secure and profitable e-business and develop state-of-the-art Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems for communicating and building relationships with customers. Experian is a subsidiary of GUS plc and has headquarters in Nottingham, UK, and Orange, Calif. Our 12,000 people support clients in more than 50 countries. Annual sales are approximately $1.5 billion.
For more information, visit the company’s Web site at .Details